fire buckets 16L red Fire buckets might seem like a bit of a low-tech solution to fire safety, particularly when fire extinguishers are sprinkler systems are so common.

But fire buckets still have an important role to play in your company’s fire risk assessment. They are useful for tackling small blazes before they have a chance to spread.

Fire buckets are small and cheap, so they can be placed strategically where fires are likely to break out.

Fire buckets are useful in outdoor environments like campsites and caravan parks, where there is a high risk of fire outbreak – and where fire extinguishers would be liable to rust.

They are also good at preventing fires. If you fill a fire bucket with a special ‘fire absorbent’ sand, then it can be used to cover up spilt flammable chemicals like petrol.

Where fire buckets are used:

Fire bucket safety

Fire safety is a legal duty as an employer. Here are our top tips on how to make your premises safer for employees and the public with fire buckets.

Fire risk assessment

If your business employs five or more people, then you must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment.

This will identify what you need to do to prevent fires, tackle fires and keep people safe. You need to identify fire hazards and specific risks to people. Then you need to evaluate, remove and reduce these risks.

You should identify where fires can start and how they will be tackled. You also need to show that you have communicated clearly with staff.

Your fire risk assessment must include:

Position fire-fighting equipment

The position of firefighting equipment will need to be considered as part of your fire risk assessment. Different businesses and different premises will need different firefighting equipment to reflect the risks and needs in the immediate environment.

Many businesses will want to consider purchasing or constructing a fire point. A fire point will typically be stocked with different fire extinguishers (suitable for different kinds of fire), as well as other equipment like fire buckets and a fire alarm.

Fire points are often positioned on movable trolleys and placed in prominent positions so as to be useful in an emergency.

Signpost your fire buckets

Fire buckets are useful for tackling small blazes before they have chance to develop into large fires. This means that if a fire breaks out, then the fire buckets need to be in action quickly.

H&O Plastics’ fire buckets are bright red and boldly emblazoned with the word ‘FIRE’ in large black letters. This helps ensure that they will not be missed in an emergency.

But it is also important that you signpost where fire buckets are. You can buy fire safety regulation compliant signs online. These signs should be placed at eye level so they are easy to spot.

Placing them around your fire point could help save vital seconds in an emergency.

What do you fill fire buckets with?

Fire buckets can be filled with different firefighting material including water, firefighting sand and special ‘absorbent’ powder.

What kind of filling you use will depend on the type of fire you expect to break out. For most types of fire, coarse fire sand will do the job. If chemicals are present, special fire ‘absorbent’ powder will be more appropriate.

Stop fire buckets being misused

There is often a temptation for people to use fire buckets for different purposes.

Sometimes they are used as ashtrays – particularly if you have sand or fire suppressant in. Lids can help prevent this.

Other times a fire bucket may be the only bucket container on site – and if somebody needs a bucket they may be tempted to dump the sand or fire suppressant, wash the bucket out and use it for a different purpose.

You can prevent this by communicating clearly with your staff. And consider buying some multi-use plastic buckets when you make your order from Buckets are always useful for different things and you never know when you might need one.


The history of fire buckets is intertwined with the history of firefighting, and mankind’s historical relationship with – leather, metal and plastic.

Early beginnings: The humble leather fire bucket

Putting out a fire didn’t used to be as simple as dialing 999. Before about the 17th century there was very little in the way of an organised fire service anywhere in the world.

Needless to say, this lead to a number of devastating fires engulfing many of the world’s major cities.

London suffered great fires in 798, 982, 989, 1212 and the infamous fire in 1666.

Originally started at a bakery on Pudding Lane, the fire quickly tore through two square miles of the city and destroyed thousands of buildings including the Royal Exchange, the Guildhall and the medieval St Paul’s Cathedral.

Back in those days, fires were fought by parish groups using fire buckets, axes and simple water squirts stored in the local church.

This leather fire bucket was found close to Pudding Lane and was probably dropped in the chaos of the fire. Made from leather with a rope handle, the buckets only held a small amount of water and some of that water was spilt as the buckets were passed from hand to hand along a line of people towards the fire.

After the Great Fire of London

It was after the Great Fire of London that insurance companies started to form organised fire brigades. But initially at least, these were private fire brigades and were instructed only to extinguish fires on properties that were insured by the insurance company.

Eventually these brigades started putting out other insurance company’s fires (for a fee to be charged later) and then started extinguishing all fires to stop fires spreading to insured buildings.

Technological advancements like fire engines and sophisticated pumping systems made firefighting easier and publicly funded fire brigades followed closely behind.

But the humble fire bucket still had an important role to play.

Metal fire buckets

As metal became easier to mine and manipulate, metal fire buckets became the next obvious jump from leather fire buckets.

Instead of being stored in a church hall – and used as to combat fires wholesale, these metal buckets were stored close to where fires could start and used as a cheap and easy first line of defence against small blazes.

They hung on stands in prominent positions, like in rooms and corridors, close to fire pits and in government buildings like school canteens and army barracks.

They were coloured bright red to be seen and have the word fire stencilled on them.

Why do fire bucket have round bottoms?

Many metal fire buckets have round or conical bottoms to stop them from being stolen or used for another purpose beside fighting fires. When in use, the buckets were normally hung up or suspended by frames so that they don’t fall over.

Many modern fire buckets that don’t have rounded bottoms have now become antiques.

Plastic fire buckets

red plastic fire buckets Plastic fire buckets are the modern answer to the fire bucket. Just as more and more of our products have been made from plastic – plastic buckets have become the option of choice for combatting small fires.

Plastic fire buckets are cheaper than metal ones, they are lighter and easier to use. Plastic buckets are also less liable to dent and rust, as metal ones tend to do when they are left outside for long periods of time.

Plants that grow without soil are called hydroponics. Hydroponic growing can be in rock, wool, gravel, liquid or speciality ‘soil’ mixes that aren’t really soil at all.

It can be done inside and outside and growing without soil helps you protect your plants against all sorts of nasty bacteria, insects and chemicals that can be present in soil.

Hydroponic growing gives you more control over your crops, making it easier to regulate the light and heat as well as the nutrients that your plants need.

Generally, hydroponic growth systems generate higher yields and shorter growth cycles.

There are different types of hydroponics bucket systems with different advantages.

Ebb and flow and drip top systems are popular, but in this post we will deal with deep water culture (DWC) hydroponic bucket systems. DWC systems are more popular with at-home hobby growers.

DWC systems are essentially systems that feed one plant per bucket.

The system is characterised by having a plant’s roots suspended in a nutrient bath, and ensuring a constant flow of air from below to make sure the plant doesn’t suffocate and drown.

DWC growing tends to give larger yields because the roots have more space and can run freely to absorb all of the nutrients that feed them. In this way you make your plants grow much more efficiently.

It is a good system if you only have a small space to grow a few plants.

Make A Deep Water Culture Hydroponics bucket

You can buy these hydroponic buckets readymade, but this is quite an expensive option, especially when the materials are cheap and the bucket systems are quite easy to make.

You can make more sophisticated systems, where the water flow is automated by a larger ‘brain’ bucket. These systems are good for taking care of a lot of crops, for example in commercial grow operations, but for the purposes of this explanation we will show you how to make a basic single bucket hydroponic system.

You will need:

Hydroponics bucket Take a 10, 20 or 25 litre bucket and drill a small hole near the top that is just wide enough to feed your air line through.

It is important to use a food grade bucket to prevent chemicals from the plastic leeching into the water and affecting your plant. This can happen with non-food grade buckets if they are re-used over and again.

Using a craft knife and drill, carefully cut a circular hole in the lid that is wide enough to let the net pot rest snug on top of the bucket.

Place your air stone in the bottom of the bucket and connect it to the pump through the air line. Put water in the bucket and switch the pump on to make sure it works.

red 16 litre fire bucketsWith the growth of new fire-fighting products it is easy to forget about humble fire buckets, used by generations of our ancestors to tackle some of the biggest historic blazes, including the Great Fire of London.

Fire extinguishers have certainly become more accessible in recent years, even if they are still quite expensive and require a fair amount of maintenance.

But fire buckets still have their uses.

They have carved themselves a nice little niche on petrol station forecourts, campsites, caravan parks, barbeque pits and lots of other outdoor settings where small fires are likely.

After launching the fire buckets category on our website last year, H&O Plastics has seen a large number of requests from campsites and other fire safety stockists for wholesale orders of our high-quality but cheap plastic fire buckets.

They are good at tackling small blazes quickly – stopping them early on before they have a chance to get bigger.

Fire buckets can be filled with water, sand or special fire ‘absorbing’ powder to smother different types of fire quickly and effectively. Keeping them close at hand means there is no time wasted in tackling a blaze.

They are particularly useful on campsites where fire can spread very quickly. They also have an advantage outdoors because they are hard-wearing. You can leave a lidded fire bucket outside for five years and it will work just as effectively as it did on day one.

When to use a fire bucket

A fire bucket filled with water can be used on Class A (involving organic solids like paper, wood, etc) types of  fire either to supplement a water extinguisher or as a first attack if an extinguisher is not immediately available.

Fire buckets filled with dry sand can be used as an absorbing agent or to dam a flow of flammable liquid.

Do not allow fire buckets to be misused, left empty or used as a bin.

Best For

Wood, Cloth, Paper, Plastics, Coal

How to use

Throw at the base of the flames and ensure that all areas of the fire are out.

Advice from FireSafe

Plastic fire buckets with lids

H&O Plastics started manufacturing large red plastic fire buckets in 2016 and have filled dozens of wholesale orders since then.

Some of the feedback we got from customers said that they wanted a cheaper, larger and higher quality alternative to other plastic fire buckets.

H&O Plastics can offer higher quality products at lower prices than our competitors because we manufacture and sell all the products ourselves.

There are no distributors taking a cut and no unnecessary costs – just great UK-made products at fair wholesale prices.

What makes our fire buckets different?

With a 16L volume, our plastic fire buckets are larger than most plastic fire buckets available to buy online. They hold more water or sand, giving you a better chance of extinguishing the fire at the first time of asking.

The friction fit lid will keep the water or sand in good condition and the metal handle makes our fire buckets easier to handle in an emergency.

Our plastic buckets are also made to be tougher. Manufactured at our Birkenhead production site, our containers have more raw material than others on the market and will last longer than most plastic buckets imported from abroad.

Fire buckets for campsites

Figures from FireKills

Fire buckets are great for tackling fires on campsites, in caravans and in other countryside and outdoor settings, such as barbeque cooking.

Under these conditions, fires can spread rapidly and being able to respond quickly is essential. Fire buckets are low-tech, lightweight and easy to transport. They can also be left outside for long periods of time without being compromised.

The Camping and Caravanning Club recommends that you keep a fire bucket full of water outside your unit, especially on campsites where no fire-fighting equipment is supplied.

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